Green Energy Production Powers Ahead In Taiwan

Taiwan is working to increase renewables to 20 percent of electricity generation by 2025 as part of government undertakings to transform the country into a regional mecca of clean and green power.

Solar and wind energy facilities produce more electricity than two of Taiwan’s three active nuclear plants combined, accounting for about 11 percent of the total energy supply. This represents significant headway in advancing the government’s related policies, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The country’s largest land-based solar power plant, comprising 480,000 locally produced solar panels, began operations in March at Tainan City in southern Taiwan. Complemented by the 100-megawatt capacity solar farm at Changhua Coastal Industrial Park in the central county, the facility generates 200 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year—enough to meet the needs of more than 50,000 households.

The solar farm at Changhua Coastal Industrial Park in the central Taiwan county boasts an installed capacity of 100 MW. (Staff photos/Chuang Kun-jun)

MOEA Deputy Minister Tseng Wen-sheng said solar and wind power capacities in Taiwan increased, respectively, from 931 MW and 678 MW in 2016 to 5.71 gigawatts and 937 MW in February. They are set to reach 20 GW and 6.9 GW, numbers in keeping with the government’s goals, he added.

Future wind power development will shift focus to offshore turbines as land-based units are close to their saturation point, the MOEA said, adding that the solar sector is set to expand further on the back of floating, ground-mounted and rooftop systems.

The launch of Taiwan’s first offshore wind farm, Formosa 1, in late 2019 marked a milestone in the country’s efforts to generating 5.7 GW through offshore wind power by 2025.

Tseng said ongoing projects are anticipated to increase capacity by at least 1 GW per year over the course of a decade beginning 2026. The total amount of related investment will likely exceed NT$1 trillion (US$35.7 billion), while creating 20,000 jobs, he added.

Formosa 1, Taiwan’s first offshore wind farm, in the northern county of Miaoli underscores the government’s commitment to realizing green energy targets.

Legislative reform is a key plank in government policymaking aimed at creating a more favorable business environment in Taiwan for green energy producers and related firms. The Electricity Act was amended to enable suppliers to sell and distribute electricity, facilitating market liberalization after decades of dominance by state-owned Taiwan Power Co., or Taipower.

In addition, the Renewable Energy Development Act was also revised earlier in the year to require users consuming five or more megawatts of electricity to either purchase from green sources or install renewable power generation facilities meeting at least 10 percent of their energy needs. According to Tseng, this requirement will add 1 GW to Taiwan’s total green energy installed capacity.

The government’s commitment to Taiwan’s energy restructuring is in keeping with the six core strategic industries initiative unveiled by President Tsai Ing-wen during her second-term inaugural address in May 2020. Renewable energy has experienced explosive growth over the past four years, Tsai said, adding that the country is fast becoming a destination for international investment and hotbed of sectorwide economic activity and job creation.

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